Softbank eyes T-Mobile US as backup plan

In light of a rival bid from Dish Network for U.S. carrier Sprint, the Japanese telco is in talks to possibly buy Deutsche Telekom's stake in T-Mobile as a "Plan B".

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Softbank reportedly eyeing a stake in T-Mobile as a Plan B..

Japanese telco Softbank is reportedly in talks with Deutsche Telekom over a potential deal for T-Mobile U.S., as it for alternative ways to enter the U.S. market if its Sprint bid falls through.

According to Reuters on Saturday, citing three sources familiar with the matter, both Softbank and Deutsche Telekom were in talks last year about a deal for T-Mobile, and have had periodic discussions since then. The sources declined to be named because the talks were private.

However, the conversations intensified in recent weeks after Dish Network made a US$25.5 billion counterbid for Sprint in April, two sources said.

Deutsche Telekom owns 74 percent of T-Mobile U.S., and one possibility is for SoftBank to buy that stake instead, the sources noted.

However, SoftBank is only looking at the possible T-Mobile transaction as "Plan B", as it still wants to do the Sprint deal after spending months on it.

The talks come ahead of a vote for Sprint shareholders to approve the Japanese firm's bid for the U.S. carrier on June 12, 2013, the report noted.

Last week, Sprint's shareholder-advisory firm Egan-Jones Ratings withdrew its support for the SoftBank-Sprint acquisition , stating SoftBank was more likely to improve its offer in relation to the rival deal offered by Dish Network. In comparison, chip giant Intel supports SoftBank's bid for Sprint, on the basis the U.S. needed additional competition in the wireless market .

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